I’ve never liked people who talk about themselves. In fact any talk of oneself is too much. I come from a mysterious lineage, an ancient order from another era where self-promotion was known simply as ‘Vanity’. Authors who published their own books were unheard of, Artists who released their own records were far from the norm. In fact any escapades based around the need to create independently of the established infrastructure would simply turn the unfortunate self-promoter into what was unaffectionately known as ‘laughing stock’. Things have changed over the years and paradigms have become blurred whilst attitudes have evolved to cope. The norm is no longer reliable, the extreme is now accepted wisdom
but in all honesty, the majority of self promotion visible in any FB or Twitter feed would have landed you in the rubber room just twenty years ago. The fact remains though, that even today, if you’re good – I mean really good, you don’t have to tell anybody. People will talk. They will know and they will be interested in who you are or what you’re doing because of the substance behind it. There’s a saying in England: “All mouth and no trousers”. So which are Eventide? The mouth? Or the trousers? Well, it’s safe to say that human nature is not defined by breaking the habits of a lifetime and Eventide are well known for being ‘Trousers’.
However, upon receiving a very self-congratulatory communique from said developer we started to wonder if they’d finally, perhaps unwittingly, been sucked into the burgeoning Twittnado – an epoch defining singularity of loose lipped promo and vacuous eye candy. With the boldest of claims stinging our eyes and ears, the palpable excitement from Eventide had started to become contagious though. Could it be? Was it really possible that this historically important company had finally discovered audio… alchemy, as it were? It must be said that there were a forest of sweaty palms at APN Towers as we all waited to see this self-proclaimed legend known simply as ‘Fission™©®℠℗№1℉’. So, the day finally came and it was not without a certain level of trepidation that I swung my mouse over to the Eventide folder and dragged Fission™ onto a judiciously primed audio track, replete with a busy, melodically infused drum loop.
Select a Source
The first thing you need to know when bringing Fission™ to bare is that it’s context sensitive – just like the time stretching algorithms in Ableton Live. For this reason we chose the appropriate ‘Full Drum Kit’ setting from the SOURCE TYPE drop down menu on the left. This allows the plugin to optimise your results which are source dependent. It’s best to be as accurate as you can when picking here. Use the drop down or the SOURCE SLIDER as seen above.
Let's Split Some Audio
The best course of action when faced with Fission™ (After choosing the correct algo) is to turn on the STRUCTURAL SPLIT™ function (middle left) and decide whether you want to focus on the Transient part of your signal (depicted in blue in the top display) or the Tonal (melodic) portion (depicted in green in the bottom display).
Here is the audio loop before Fission. Many thanks to UNDRGRND Sounds
And here is the audio loop after Fission. Many thanks to UNDRGRND Sounds
There is no correct way, no established order by which to process these signals – just go with whatever feels good and believe me when I tell you, most of it feels just great. There is a small library of different processing options available to both the top and bottom zones and you can push the FOCUS slider upwards and use (for example) the GATE+EQ processor to shut the door after the transient parts of the (in this case) drum loop and set up your EQ to taste. For the purposes of the review, however, I decided to increase the impact of the loop by compressing it in the Transient zone before dragging the FOCUS slider downwards to the TONAL domain. This is where you can really start to explore the musical implications of Fission™. After all, that’s the true purpose of this plugin. Summarily I decided to pull the PITCH processor into play.
This presents you with three separate VOICE controls with only VOICE 1 being immediately available – the other two have ON/OFF switches, presumably to save on CPU. With some judicious tweaking I was able to pull the pitched cowbells, the body of the toms and the tonal elements of the beat down with literally zero effect on transient impact. The engorged claims of Eventide were starting to feel more legitimate by the second. Next I switched out the PITCH processor for reverb and was able to create a pristine verb wash from the loop. Yoiks. This was all highly unbelievable stuff.
“The engorged claims of Eventide were starting to feel more legitimate by the second. Next I switched out the PITCH processor for reverb and was able to create a pristine verb wash from the loop. Yoiks. This was all highly unbelievable stuff.”
The concept behind this plugin is actually so simple as to be almost laughable – divide an audio signal into it’s component parts and allow the producer to process them separately, then sum them back into one signal. However, the mathematics involved in making this actually happen are far from basic.
Most of us are used to transient processing and it should be duly noted that transient style plugins are in most producers’ ‘idiot box’. If I had a dime for every time I had to use a transient designer to sculpt a kick or snare in order to tuck it firmly in the pocket I would have enough skrill for a full blown presidential campaign.
Fission™ enters this story in the post-transient wilderness. There is a gaping hole in software workflow and trust me when I tell you, Fission™ is a very progress-centric tool. Whether you are a sound designer, producer, or even an engineer there is something in this plugin that you will not find anywhere else. The very fact that you can raise or lower the volumes of TONAL and TRANSIENT portions of any signal independently make this an essential investment. Oh, and as far as the ‘Mouth or Trousers’ thing goes – Eventide are ‘All Trousers’.
Compatible on Mac:
OS X 10.7
AAX Native, VST, AU
Compatible on Windows:
Microsoft Windows 7+
AAX Native, VST
- Truly unique
- Easy to use
- You can only use one effect per zone
- Would like more effect choices
- No Global mix control